Claudia Leitte

As Máscaras

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As Máscaras is Cláudia Leitte's first proper solo album, as the mega-seller Ao Vivo em Copacabana (the first release under her own name) offered more of a summation of her career as Babado Novo's vocalist than a new beginning. That Leitte wanted to become Ivete Sangalo's successor was no secret to anyone, let alone her producers, who could probably barely contain their enthusiasm at the idea of another blond axé goddess with charm to spare and a hyperkinetic live act, one who could dance great and sing OK -- and sell CDs and DVDs by the truckload. As such, As Máscaras is exactly what one would expect, a by-the-numbers example of what is considered "commercial" music in Brazil. There's the high-tech production, the contributions from an army of professional songwriters, the nonstop party mood as well as (for the required ballad or two) duets with both an international and a regional artist (Travie McCoy in a Portuguese cover of "Billionaire," Beto in "Don Juan"), and the covering-all-the-bases strategy to find out where exactly Leitte could strike gold -- be it pop, reggae, rap, funk, traditional axé music, or a combination of one or more of the above. In all honesty, nothing really falls flat in As Máscaras, but little truly catches fire or at least sounds sincere or spontaneous. Leitte still has a long way to go before matching Sangalo's achievements, both in commercial and artistic terms, although on the evidence of As Máscaras one cannot help but feel she may reach the former earlier than the latter.

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